Collegiate Claptrap

The suits are wildly spinning for ‘GBH in Boston, in wake of the takeover of the student station at Bryant University. Bean counters at Bryant — acting the good industrialist as ‘GBH honchos did in busting up their union — have now begun to put that most favorable light on this latest acquisition, to wit: “Bryant partnership with WGBH provides new tech platforms for student radio station.” This is akin to saying “layoffs create whole new world to experience in unemployment.” The word from Boston is equally giddy in its assessment of the move, which will consign student radio to the purgatory of HD radio and online:

“We are absolutely delighted to be returning to an area with so much vibrant cultural activity, and look forward to sharing it with the rest of the region,” said Benjamin Roe, WGBH managing director for classical services, in a press release.

In related news, doings at WDUQ hit the national radar in Tom Taylor’s newsletter, here:

The feared mass layoff at Pittsburgh’s WDUQ (90.5) is happening, as one poster on the Pittsburgh Board at Radio-Info.com said it would. The new Essential Public Media is buying WDUQ for $6 million and initiating an LMA on July 1. The Post-Gazette confirms that the current staff, more than 20 fulltimers and parttimers, got termination notices. Now the question is — will Essential Public Media re-hire any of them? It’s still going to be doing a limited amount of jazz, as it re-formats to mostly news and talk. The paper’s Adrian McCoy says the buyer is retaining director of development Fred Serino and business manager Vicky Rumpf for the LMA period.

DUQ has been absorbed into the NPR borg, thanks in large part to the machinations (double-dealing, some would say) of Public Radio Capital in its freshlly minted Public Media Co. — a move that slices the hours of jazz programming from 100 to 6, as noted in this blog:

If the online outcry is any indication, there will be a lengthy period of discord over the manner in which the removal of jazz from these free public airwaves is being accomplished. Those who have been most vocal have said that a healthy compromise somewhere between the 100 hours of jazz being aired on 90.5 now, and the 6 that is currently planned for, would be fine with them. Their plea does not appear to be intractable, even in spite of an effort to boycott membership in both stations. Why does WYEP’s silence in response seem that way?…

From the sound of the rhetoric, the management of WYEP has made up its mind, and is not inclined to listen to the pleas of jazz fans around the area to keep more of this music on analog FM. The deaf ear they appear to have turned to the complaints is not in keeping with a community media resource, and has fueled too much speculation along with the bad feelings.

Perhaps they just think that the spectrum is too valuable to continue to commit so much airtime to what they may perceive as a “niche” audience. If that’s the case, their approach is antithetical to their origins. Perhaps they have truly forgotten from whence they came. Too bad.

As this post in March on the Bloomberg Businessweek site, “Making Public Radio a Little More Private,”  notes, the pace for acquisition of the cherry student stations has accelerated in response to perceived threats to federal funding:

Some media executives in Pasadena, Calif., think they may be able to save public radio by making it less public. They’re using business tactics rarely employed in the tame world of local public radio to create a megastation they hope will one day beam its signal from Santa Barbara to San Diego. By building a mini-empire of local stations, they say they’ll be able to better distribute the fixed costs of radio broadcasting and draw on a much larger audience for the donations and corporate sponsorships that could keep them afloat if government funding dries up.

Those plans are taking shape in the $25 million, one-year-old studios of KPCC, the flagship station for Southern California Public Radio. SCPR already owns or operates three stations and is on the hunt for more.

The Southern Cal group, which snapped up beloved station KUSF in San Francisco in its quest to go more corporate, is not shy about its goals:

SCPR’s stations currently reach 14 million listeners, but the board hopes to nearly double that, to 25 million. “If we can buy a station, we will,” says Crawford. “Where we can’t, we’ll build translators to boost our signal. This is a new business model for public radio.”

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2 Responses

  1. with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer . . .

    EPM Strikes Out

    The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Jazzville fans that day:
    Their radio station sold, with no more music left to play
    And then when Yacovone retired, and Plaskett retired too,
    A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of DUQ.

    A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
    Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
    They thought, if only somehow the Jazzers could get but a whack at that –
    We’d put up even money, now, with Jazzers at the bat.

    But Hanley’d left the station, as had also “Johnson John,”
    And Cardamone was a lulu and Ferraro woebegone;
    So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
    For there seemed but little chance of Jazzers getting to the bat.

    But Dick Roberts issued a release, to the wonderment of all,
    Said Jazzers, though much despis-ed, wouldn’t have to lose it all;
    And when the dust had lifted, and the folks saw what had occurred,
    There was to be jazz on Saturday night, displayed like a polished turd.

    Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
    It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
    It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
    For Jazzers, angry Jazzers, weren’t satisfied with that.

    There was ease in the Jazzers’ manner as they put their plan in place;
    There was pride in the Jazzers’ bearing and a smile on their collective face.
    And when, responding to the jeers, YEP locked its Facebook page,
    No stranger in the crowd could doubt the depth of Jazzers’ rage.

    Ten thousand eyes were on them as they hurled a little dirt;
    Five thousand tongues applauded and cried they would be hurt.
    Then while the scheming Humphrey ground their DUQ to dust,
    Defiance gleamed in the Jazzers’ eyes, for them, it’s “Jazz or Bust!”

    And now the boycott’s taken flight, from Facebook friend to friend,
    And Jazzers vow to battle on until the bitter end.
    Close by their trusty radios, they heard Bob Studebaker’s voice,
    Saying “Two more weeks of jazz to go,” but it’s clear that’s not by choice.

    From Pittsburgh, from the suburbs, and beyond, came a muffled roar,
    Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
    “Kill him! Kill Charlie Humphrey!” shouted someone taking a stand;
    And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Tony raised his hand.

    With a smile of Christian charity great Tony’s visage shone;
    He stilled the rising tumult; he bade that life go on;
    He made plans to retire, and once more the Jazzers knew;
    That EPM’d ignored them, and the public said, “Strike two.”

    “Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
    But one scornful look from Oliphant and the audience was awed.
    They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
    And they knew that cultural fascists wouldn’t let jazz play again.

    The sneer is gone from the Jazzers’ lips, their teeth are clenched in hate;
    They bristle at the notion that elitists command their fate.
    And so the Jazzers fight the fight, but the ball’s not in their court
    “Six hours of jazz is plenty! You should be happy” was Grant’s retort.

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
    A jazz band’s playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light
    And somewhere folks are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
    But there’ll be no joy in Jazzville – if the Jazzers’ cause strikes out.

    So pack up your DUQ coffee mug and mail it to EPM,
    And send those folks the message that you’ll not be supporting them
    Until they play the music that fills Jazzville with so much cheer.
    And if they do not like it, they should cry into their (donated) beer.

  2. Well, try telling that to Boston’s urban music community in the face of WILD’s owners Radio One leasing their station to China Radio International! It’s ridiculous for the Communist Chinese Party using a local radio station to transmit their propaganda crap into New England!

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